Wizards' benching of Poole may be sign of bold long-term plan

Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards
Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

Washington Wizards' head coach Brian Keefe altered Jordan Poole's role within the team ahead of their game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. The five-year NBA veteran will now be coming off the bench, giving the team a new set of rotations as they continue to piece together the puzzle.

The game marked Poole's first time coming off the bench in a Wizards uniform. Before his time in the District, Poole checked into games as a member of the second unit in 151 of his 266 games with the Golden State Warriors. In his appearances off the bench with Golden State, Poole averaged 11.6 points per game with a true shooting percentage of 54.8 percent.

The thought process behind the move seems to involve Poole finding himself more comfortable returning to a more familiar role. However, considering the Wizards' 9-46 record this season, the organization may have their minds focused on something further down the line.

Could a move to the bench boost Jordan Poole's trade value?

When the Wizards acquired Jordan Poole from the Warriors last July, the team had high expectations for the 6'4" guard who logged key minutes during the Warriors' last championship run. Despite his reputation as a timely shooter, Poole has struggled mightily in Washington, posting his least efficient percentages since his rookie season.

Part of what makes finding a trade suitor for Poole so difficult is his four-year, $128 million contract. Earlier this week, ESPN's Bobby Marks told Bay Area sports radio station 95.7 The Game that many teams in the NBA believe Poole's contract is one of the worst in the league.

In his first game off the bench as a member of the Wizards, Poole started strong, scoring 10 points in his first 11 minutes of action. The game quickly became out of hand for the Wizards however, as the Nuggets ran away with a 130-110 victory. Poole finished the evening having shot 3-of-9 from beyond the arc, his seventh game with multiple made threes in his last 11 outings.

If Jordan Poole continues to perform off the bench as well as he did in the first half on Thursday, there may be a trade market for the 24-year-old former first-round pick this summer.

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